Adriano Moraes: Title Fight With Demetrious Johnson Won’t Last 5 Rounds
Brazilian grappling specialist and reigning ONE flyweight world champion Adriano Moraes, will be facing his biggest adversity yet, when he defends his title against the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix winner, Demetrious Johnson.
The two athletes are arguably the biggest stars in the division and they will battle it out for supremacy to determine the best flyweight in ONE Championship. And Moraes is hoping that a victory against the former UFC champion will gain him enough traction to elevate his stock.
“I don’t know what could chance in my life. When I look back and see that I have six ONE Championship belts, there’s always something that changed. I was able to come to the United States; it’s easier to get my documents now that I’m a high level athlete that is recognised around the world. I believe that a win over Demetrious definitely gets me in the mainstream. I can get some sponsors, something more on the business side. I’ll embrace every opportunity I have to make more money,” Moraes told MMA Fighting.
Moraes pointed out an advantage that Johnson would carry into their upcoming contest – competing three times in 2019, compared to Moraes’ lone bout in January, where he won the title back from Geje Eustaquio at ONE: Here’s Ascent.
“Ask any athlete, it’s hard to stay a year without fighting. DJ is coming off three fights [in 2019], he definitely made great money, so he definitely has good money to invest in his camp. I don’t, unfortunately, because I haven’t fought in a while. But my body is fresh.”
Due to Johnson’s impressive career resume, Moraes is considered by many to be the challenger and the underdog in the mega fight, despite being the title-holder, something ‘Mikinho’ can see the funny side of.
“That’s funny – I don’t know if it’s that funny because even the promotion treats me like that, I feels like I’m the contender here. That doesn’t affect me. I’m actually glad it’s that way, so I just stay under the radar and work on what has to be done. I think it’s funny that people see me as the guy challenging Demetrious for the belt. The promotion itself, when we were negotiating this fight, it was a pain in the ass because of that. I’m the contender now,” Moraes stated.
“I wanted to fight sooner, but I’m the contender now and can’t choose. He’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA. We had to get a deal that was good for everyone.”
Despite the stellar career to date, which has seen the ONE flyweight champion win 18 of his 21 professional bouts, with all three losses coming by way of split decision, Moraes hasn’t received the adulation he deserves globally. But that could all change for the 30 year with a win over Johnson.
“I’ve always done a great job in Asia. My losses were always controversial, and I know I have a huge potential. But I’m a bit hidden because I’ve been fighting in Asia for seven years. I believe this will be my moment to show the world what I can do. I had to fight someone famous in order to show that.
“A win over DJ gets me in the mainstream, other fans will get to know my work. I’m an American Top Team fighter and I train with athletes that are super famous. That’s what I needed, to fight someone famous, and I’m happy that this super athlete is Demetrious Johnson, a legend. It’s a huge honour for me.”
Like Moraes, Johnson has only lost three times and never been stopped, in his 34 professional bouts. But Moraes plans to change that, stating that he won’t let the fight go to the judges.
“If he wants to grapple, I’ll beat him up. If he wants to stand and trade, I’ll grapple. There’s no secret. I always try to finish my opponents, especially since the judges at ONE Championship never are on the Brazilians’ side [laughs]. We were never finished before, but I don’t think he ever fought someone like me. I’ll go for the finish at all times. This fight won’t last five rounds.”
Moraes is set to defend his ONE flyweight world title against Johnson at ONE: Reign Of Dynasties on April 11th in Chongqing, China. However, with the outbreak of the wuhan coronavirus in China, it is likely that the bout will be moved to different country and date.
Who do you think will be crowned the ONE flyweight king when they meet, Adriano Moraes or Demetrious Johnson?